Vienna is known for its coffee culture rather than afternoon tea, but there are a few places where you can enjoy a similar experience of tea and pastries.
Afternoon tea, though a traditional British custom, that typically takes place in the afternoon, usually between 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. is something I enjoy having. It is a delightful and leisurely affair that involves enjoying a selection of tea accompanied by a variety of finger sandwiches, scones, and sweet treats. Here’s a description of what you might expect during an afternoon tea experience:
Tea Selection: The centerpiece of afternoon tea is, of course, the tea itself. A wide variety of loose-leaf teas are typically offered, including classics like English Breakfast, Earl Grey, and Darjeeling, as well as herbal infusions and flavored teas. Guests are often presented with a tea menu or offered recommendations by knowledgeable staff to choose their preferred blend.
Savory Finger Sandwiches: The first course of afternoon tea consists of delicate finger sandwiches. These sandwiches are usually made with fresh, crustless bread and filled with a range of savory ingredients. Common fillings include cucumber and cream cheese, smoked salmon, egg salad, chicken, and various types of ham. The sandwiches are typically bite-sized and elegantly presented on tiered serving stands.
Scones with Jam and Clotted Cream: After the sandwiches, the next course typically includes freshly baked scones. Scones are small, slightly sweet, and light pastries that are often served warm. They are accompanied by clotted cream and strawberry jam. The traditional method of enjoying a scone is to first spread a layer of clotted cream on top, followed by a dollop of jam.
Sweet Treats: To conclude the afternoon tea experience, an assortment of sweet treats is served. These can include a variety of pastries, cakes, tarts, macarons, and other delightful confections. The selection varies but often includes favorites like Victoria sponge cake, lemon tart, chocolate éclairs, and fruit-filled pastries. These treats add a touch of indulgence to the experience.
Here are some options for afternoon tea-like experiences in Vienna:
Demel is a historic pastry shop and café located near the Hofburg Palace. It offers a delightful selection of pastries, cakes, and chocolates. While they don’t specifically offer afternoon tea, you can still enjoy a cup of tea or coffee with their delectable treats in a charming Viennese setting.
The legendary Hotel Sacher is famous for its Sachertorte, a traditional Viennese chocolate cake. You can visit the hotel’s café, Café Sacher, and indulge in a slice of Sachertorte accompanied by a cup of tea or coffee. The elegant ambiance and historic surroundings add to the experience.
Café Central is a historic café located in a beautiful palatial building near St. Stephen’s Cathedral. While it primarily serves coffee, it also offers a selection of teas and a variety of delicious pastries and cakes. The grand interior, with its high ceilings and elegant décor, provides a sophisticated setting for enjoying tea and treats.
Palais Coburg, a luxurious hotel and restaurant, offers a “Tea & More” experience in its elegant lounge. You can enjoy a selection of teas accompanied by sweet and savory delicacies. The serene atmosphere and refined surroundings make it a perfect spot for a relaxing afternoon tea-like experience.
Teehaus im Englischen Garten
Located within the beautiful Stadtpark, the Teehaus im Englischen Garten is a tea house offering a wide range of teas from around the world. While it may not have the traditional afternoon tea setup, you can enjoy a peaceful atmosphere while savoring a variety of teas and perhaps pairing them with a pastry or light snack.
While Vienna is more renowned for its coffee houses, these establishments provide opportunities to enjoy a cup of tea and indulge in Viennese pastries and cakes in elegant settings.